Thursday, July 31, 2014

Happy Birthday–Elizabeth Ann (Lucas) Shaw


31 July 1936 – 6 January 2011

Today, our mom would have been 78 years old – Happy Birthday Mom! We love and miss you very much – Kathy, Bobby, Billy, Chris, and the whole family.

This Day in History: 31 July

On this day in:

1778 – Frances Potter (1st Cousin, 6 times removed) was baptized in Linby, Nottingham, United Kingdom

1803 – John Shaw (3rd Great Uncle) was baptized in Hucknall Torkard, Nottingham, United Kingdom

Monday, July 28, 2014

Death Certificate–Raymond Lucas

About a week ago I read a post over on the Michigan Family Trails blog about photo duplication requests from Family Search. I got a two-for-one deal for reading that post.

  1. I didn't know about this service from
  2. I don't know how I missed this in the past, and honestly, I haven't searched for my Lucas ancestors in a long while, but I haven't looked online for the Michigan Death Certificates, 1921 - 1952, let alone knowing that Family Search had the index.

So, immediately after reading her post I went to and searched for my Great Grandfather, Raymond Lucas, to see if his death certificate was among those. I found one that could be him, so I followed Michigan Family Trails advice and requested a photo duplication of that record.

Today, in my email, I was pleasantly surprised to find the record I requested, the Death Certificate of Raymond Lucas (below).


I need to do some analysis of this record and compare to the information I have about my Great Grandfather to be sure that this is him. But I am excited because my initial look at the record is telling me that this is him.

  • I estimated his death about 1922, the record date of death is 13 December 1921.
  • His wife's name was Catherine, but was called Katie - the wife and informant on the record is Katie.
  • He had said he was from Russia and/or Poland on other documents, the death cert says he was born in Russia.
  • I had estimated his birth abt 1880, the death cert says 1879.
  • On the 1920 Census he was a farmer, the death cert says he was a farmer.
  • They lived in Exeter Township for 7 months at the time of his death - Katie is found in Exeter township in the 1930 Census.

That's a lot of information that I've scanned over pretty quick, but with all the similarities, my confidence and excitement is high that I'll be able to say that this is the death cert of my Great Grandfather. But, I have a lot of analysis and some further research to do before I can be sure.

  1. I need to compare the information with the little information I do have on Raymond and see if I can match anything.
  2. I want to research the cemetery, Stoney Creek Cemetery, and see if I can get any records that may help.
  3. I want to check local papers for an obituary which may mention his kids and other information.

One last thing that really struck me in this record is that starvation is a contributing factor of his death. I wonder if the Tuberculosis had something to do with that? He had four kids along with his wife at home and I wonder if making sure they were fed was part of the cause - he was sick, so let them eat more. Plus, the rest of the family was fine and lasted at least until 1940. This, if it is him, is my Mom's Grandfather and she always said that the family was really poor. This fits into that story. These are my first thoughts on seeing the information, I'll probably never know the real story.

That is enough for this record for now but I will be back to revisit after I do some more research and a lot of analysis.

Does anyone have any suggestions on something I may have missed so far?

Thanks for reading and keep diggin for that family.


PS: I want to thank Diane over at the Michigan Family Trails blog for the great post which led to my potential find.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Old Country Church Records–Reading them.

Yesterday, I posted about the birth/baptism record of my great grandfather, John Pakledinaz, and how I have concluded that it is, indeed, the correct record. Today is a follow-up to that post because I wanted to give a more detailed evaluation of the record collection and also give some tips on how I deciphered the contents.

The record collection where I found my great grandfather is the Croatia, Church Books, 1516-1994, specifically the Roman Catholic, Sotin, Births, Marriages, Deaths 1857-1885, filmed and then digitized by the LDS. This particular collection consists of 399 images and I have combed through about 180 of them so far (all of the Baptisms). The records are in great overall condition considering the originals were over 100 years old when they were filmed. I would say that 90% of the pages in the images are very legible. The digitized version is far superior, in my opinion, to the microfilm version. They are clear and I can zoom in and out without loss of legibility and I can view them at home on my home computer, much better than viewing on a film reader.

imageThe main difficulty with these old church records, obviously, is that they are not in English. This particular collection is in Latin and Croatian. They are in a spreadsheet type record form with headings. The headings start out in Latin and then half way through they turned into Croatian. This isn’t so bad because the English translation stayed the same; Nomen (Name – Latin) is the same as ime (Name – Croatian).


However, the entries do the same thing, they started in Latin and then, all of a sudden, whoever was doing the recording starting writing everything in Croatian. I don’t speak Latin or Croatian, so I was pretty confused several times during my search. See the examples on the left. The top record of Jacobus is from 1857. This is written in Latin – Maji (May), Legit. (Legitimate Child), and colonus (could be farmer).  The bottom record is from 1885. This is is Croatian – O┼żujak (March), Zakonit (Legitimate), Zak, supr (Legal or legitimate marriage).

To make things worse, as with all handwritten records like these, the same person did not record every entry. Some entries were very neat and clear and some are just downright scribble. But, with the help of a couple different websites, I can pretty much decipher most of what is written.

The first website I went to and used much through the entire process was They have great explanations of the church records with word and name lists that I used to make my way through the harder parts of the records. Along with that site, I also used Google translate A LOT! I never used just one site to make sure I was getting a word correct; I always used at least those two sites. I also used the Family History Research Wiki from just to verify some of the harder words.

Lastly, when I just could not figure anything out or at least wanted to verify what I have found, I went to the message boards (for this record, the Croatian board). I did not jump to the message boards first because I feel that I need to do everything in my power to try and decipher these records on my own. The more I can do on my own, the better I’ll be doing further research in records just like these. Anyway, I just could not figure out this word that was under my Greatimage Grandfathers Fathers name. I was almost sure it was his occupation or something like that, but I could not decipher it completely. So I posted to the board. I received two answers within hours of posting and my suspicions were confirmed, the word means farmer or peasant farmer (in Croatian).

There will always be portions of these records that you may never decipher. In the imageobservations column of my great grandfathers record there is some writing with what is probably dates: Ex Offo?? 2/12 1905 ??? 14/11 9?9 I believe the first date is something to do with his emigration date, as it is very close to the date I found him on a ship’s manifest at Ellis Island (Aug 1905), but it doesn’t match for sure, so I will probably never know.

Another part of these records that threw me for a moment was there were some dates and a + sign by some of the Baptism names. I have German Genealogy also so I have reviewed many of their village books and Iimage remembered that the + sign in those records meant death. So, do these annotations mean the same thing? I quickly picked an example and then started searching the death records of this collection and there it was, the annotation on the baptism matched a death record of the same person. However, my example almost through me off with the language again – the Baptism was written in Latin so the name was Johannes and the Death was written in Croatian, so the name was Ivan – Ivan is Croatian, Johannes is Latin, and they both can become John in English, just like in my Great Grandfather’s case.

This is enough for one post but I will continue to post about these records because I have found a lot of hope-to-be ancestors. Over the next couple months, I’ll be continuing my search into these records, making some conclusions from what I find and then I’ll post my findings.  

Do you have any suggestions on reading these old church records? If so, please leave a comment and tell everyone about it. 

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ for that family.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Birth Record of John Pakledinaz


Many years ago I received an emailed picture of a birth record which seemed to be my Great Grandfather, John Pakledinaz. However, the image I received was poor and some of it was not very legible (for the times, it was a good image taken from microfilm). I put this in my database with the intentions of finding that record for myself and reinvestigating to make sure that was the actual record of my Great Grandfather. Well, that time has come. And with the advances in technology and the digitizing of records by many institutions and companies, my search is all online. In this case, it is the Family History Library which has digitized these records and I can view from the privacy of my own home. And the images are very high quality and pretty easy to read, maybe even better than having the actual physical record right in front of me.

Anyway, the below image is that record, downloaded from the website. My Great Grandfather is entry #20 on the right side of the page, born 16 Ozujak (March) 1885. Now, you might be looking at this and saying that person is name Ivan, not John? Well, you are correct, but Ivan would turn into John in English. Below is a snippet from that record with just John's information. clip_image001Here is a transcription of the record:


Entry #20, born and baptized on 16 March 1885, Name: Ivan, Legitimate child, parents: Markus Pakledinac, Peasant Farmer, and Elizabeta Bankovic, legally married. They are Roman Catholic and live at house #38 in Tompojevci.

But how do I know for sure that this birth record for ‘Ivan’, is indeed, my Great Grandfather, John? I will probably never be 100% positive, but I can get pretty close to that with a little evaluation of the sources that I have.

Corroborating Information:

1. The name John is an English version of Ivan. I looked at the internet and found a site called Behind the Name and I used this to verify that John is an English version of Ivan.[1] I talk about this more below. 

2. Birth Date: 16 March 1885. John listed his birth date on the following sources as 16 March 1885; World War I draft registration card[2], World War II draft registration card.[3] Those are the primary sources I have that tells me that this birth record matches John. Also, I have found John in the US Census of 1910, 1930, and 1940 and calculations of his age in these census say that he was born in 1885. Census is not very reliable for birth dates but they do help to add more reliability to the other sources I have.

3. Location: Tompojevci. The baptism/birth record I have says that this family lived at #38 in Tompojevci. I found the manifest that shows when John immigrated and his last permanent residence is Tompojevci.[4] I wrote about that previously: Ship's Manifest. The only thing that can be refuted between the records is the first name, again. The manifest shows his name as Johannes, however, as in Ivan, John is an English version of Johannes. Ivan (Croatian), Johannes (Latin), John (English); all the same.[5] NOTE: I will have to do another post on my analysis of the manifest and show how I prove that the person on the manifest is my great grandfather.


4. Parents of John: Marko Pakledinac and Elisabeta Bankovic. The marriage certificate of John and Anna lists John’s parents as Mark and Elizabeth Pakledinac.[6] My source is a secondary source, it is a certificate issued in 1951 from records of the church. I need to follow this up and actually look at the original church records. However, There is no reason for me to believe that the information could be wrong, but I will validate when I can.

Conflicting information: I only have one source that conflicts with the birthdate of John and that is his death certificate. It says his date of birth was 16 March 1884, one year off.[7] I dismiss this as an error in record keeping/documentation. It is secondary information given by John’s daughter. Nothing else in any record says he was born in 1884 – everything says 1885.

Final Conclusion: The baptism/birth church record shown here is, in fact, the record of my great grandfather, John Pakledinaz.

  Please leave a comment and let me know if I’ve missed anything or if you have anything else to add.

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ for that family.


NOTE: I’ve written a follow up to this post (Old Country Church Records) with more evaluation of the record collection and tips on how I deciphered the records.


[1] Mike Campbell, Behind the Name: The Etymology and History of First Names ( : accessed 11 Aug 2013),

[2] "U.S. World War I Draft Registation Cards, 1917-1918," database and images, ( : accessed 26 Jun 2014), John Pakledinaz, Registration Card 1131 A, Serial Number 563.

[3] "U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [Database on-line]," database and images, Ancestry .com ( : accessed 27 Jun 2014), Registration for John M. Pakledinaz; Serial Number u1273.

[4] "New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," online images, ( : accessed 1 Oct 2013), manifest, Kaiser Wilhelm de Grosse, 3 August 1905, Passenger #22, Pakledinac Johann.

[5] Campbell,

[6] St. Joseph (Youngstown, Ohio, Mahoning), John Pakledinaz and Anna Hinterhauser Marriage Certificate (1951) marriage, issued May 7th; Chancery of the Diocese of Youngstown, Youngstown.

[7] Michigan Department of Health, Death Certificate Local File No: 3509 (Detroit Department of Health) (1957), John J. Pakledinaz; Michigan Vital Records Office, Lansing.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday–Anna (Hinterhauser) Pakledinaz


This weeks Tombstone Tuesday post is for my maternal great grandmother, Anna M. (Hinterhauser) Pakledinaz.  I have written about her before in these posts: 2 Birthdays, Census Sunday, Where did this come from?, Surname Saturday, and Ancestor Appreciation

She was born in 1890 in the small village of Milititsch, which is now located in Serbia.  She died in 1968 and is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan. Her find-a-grave memorial can be found here.

Thanks for stopping by and keep diggin’ for that family.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday–John Pakledinaz


This weeks Tombstone Tuesday post is for my maternal great grandfather, John Pakledinaz. I have written about him before in these posts: Census Sunday, Ship Manifest, Surname Saturday, Ancestor Appreciation Day.

He was born 16 March 1885 in the village of Tompojevci in what is now Croatia. He died in 1957 and is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan. His find-a-grave memorial can be found here.

Thanks for stopping by and keep diggin’ for that family.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Draft Registration Cards–John Pakledinaz

Over the past week I have been looking a little more at some information I have for my Great Grandfather, John Pakledinaz. The records of interest are his draft registration cards from World War I and World War II.

imageThe document above is his WWI registration card. This is what it tells us:

1. It gives me his address on Sept 12, 1918. I can add this to my google maps where I track their movements.

2. Confirms his date of birth.

3. It says that he was a citizen of Hungary, which is consistent with my my other information. It also says that he was an alien, non-declarant. This is good information as it narrows down dates for me to look for any declaration paperwork he may have submitted – I know it was not before this date.

4. It gives his occupation and who he worked for and where he worked. The Penobscot building was not very far from where he lived.

5. The card gives a brief description, a tall, slender build male with brown eyes and dark brown hair. It also says that he didn’t have any obvious physical condition that would disqualify him for service.



The documents above and to the left are his WWII registration cards. They tell us the following:

1. It gives his address on April 27, 1942.

2. Another confirmation of his birth date. Also gives his place of birth as Yugoslavia which is consistent with other information –Yugoslavia came into existence after WWI. So, when he was born, it wasn’t called Yugoslavia but was at the time of this registration card.

3. Says that he was unemployed.  Interesting and I would like to find out more.

4. It also gives a description of him; 5ft 10.5in tall, hazel eyes, black hair, and a ruddy complexion. (Which meant he had a healthy, reddish color) It also tells us that he didn’t have any obvious physical characteristics that would aid in his identification.

The last piece of information that these two cards give me intensifies a little mystery I have for John. What was his middle name or initial, if he even had one.

If you will notice in his WWI registration card, he gives no middle initial but in his WWII card, he says it was M. and he even signs his name with the M. initial.

I also have his Death certificate where his middle initial was given as J.

The birth record I have for him makes no mention of a middle name. (a future post will talk about his birth/baptism record).

Only further research may reveal his true middle initial or name, if he truly had one. I’ll be going through all my information again looking for any evidence of a middle initial or name being used.  But for now, in my database, I am listing him without the middle initial or name.

Did I miss anything or if you have something to add, please leave a comment with your information.

If you would like to read more about John, I have written about him many times; Census Sunday, Ships Manifest, Rookie Mistake, Pakledinaz - Irish??, Surname Saturday, and Ancestor Appreciation Day.

Thanks for stopping by and keep diggin’ for that family.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Anna and her 2 Birthdays

birthday cakeIt’s been a while since my last post but I am finally getting back to going through all my sources as I described in a previous post; A New Start. I am working on the sources of my great grandmother, Anna Maria (Hinterhauser) Pakledinaz. Of course, I start with her birthdate and I have already run into a conflict amongst the information.

According to family sources, Anna was a leap year baby, born on 29 February in 1890. However, as a researcher and historian, I have to get concrete sources which prove she was born on the day everyone thinks. Well, this is where the difference in birthdates comes into play. I will always mark her birthday as 29 February because that is what she believed and what she celebrated. However, I also have to make note of what the facts tell me. They tell me that she could not have been born on 29 February 1890, but was, in fact, born on 1 March 1890.

src0086BaptrecMiliticsFirst - According to the Catholic Church baptism records, which I viewed on microfilm from the Family History Library, Anna was born on 1 March 1890 and baptized that same day. This is a primary source as it was recorded at the time of the events. However, I viewed this information many years ago and my transcription skills were not that great. I need to order those films again and take a second look. (A copy of my attempt at transcription is to the left)

imageSecond – I have a copy of the Milititsch Ortssippenbuch (a book written to record all the families within a village), so I reviewed what was recorded about Anna’s birth. That book says she was born on 1 March 1890. This is a secondary source so a mistake could have been made. (the information from the book is to the right)

Third – Probably the most convincing fact about the actual date of her birth is that 1890 was not a leap year. Unless I am missing something and leap years were different in the late 19th century, the leap years would have been 1888 and then again in 1892, years divisible by 4, not 1890.

So, what does all this really tell us and does it really change anything? All it tells us is that Anna was born on 1 March, which, in fact, would have been 29 February if 1890 was a leap year. And finally, it doesn’t change anything at all.

I am a firm believer, while doing this family history research, that what truly matters in our history is what our ancestors believed to be the truth. What they believed is what drove their lives and made them who they were. Now, I am also a historian and still have to get the facts correct, so I will record the facts that Anna was born on 1 March as an alternate birth date. I will always keep her official birthday as 29 February because that is what Anna believed and celebrated.

If you see something I might have missed or another suggestion, please leave a comment.

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ for that family.


Photo courtesy of Will Clayton.